Teaching and Advising Philosophy

Our ability to practice science hinges on the sponsorship afforded by public (taxpayer), or private (corporate) support. Hence, it is incumbent on us to pay back to society in the form of education and dissemination. In other words, I expect you to work hard to further your education, and I expect all advisees to present the results of their work at national meetings, and ultimately publish results in refereed journals. Preparation of a publishable manuscript (or several such manuscripts, in the case of a PhD) is extremely demanding, but personally rewarding, an ideal learning experience, and ultimately incumbent upon us as scientists and funding recipients.

I emphasize study of real rock data in all class and research projects, as the field is the ideal forum for geological education, and the ultimate source of geological truth. For my advisees, this means a strong field or core (if subsurface) component to their research. Many students will progress to employment that requires geologic interpretation based on remotely sensed images or models of rock data; accordingly, students must gain experience with real rocks.

Special Note to Prospective Graduate Students

I am particularly interested in students willing to consider both fieldwork and laboratory analyses. I have worked with students in field sites in the western U.S. and Canada, Puerto Rico and Peru, western Europe, Japan, and the Arctic and Antarctic, but have also worked with students on core material from various regions. If you are interested in using sedimentary geology to address questions about “deep-time” paleoclimate, the geologic record and Earth system effects of atmospheric aerosols (dust), relationships between climate and weathering, reading tectonic events from the sedimentary record, or allied subdisciplines, please contact me. Future projects will address climatic reconstructions, and tectonic-climatic interactions in tropical Pangaea, atmospheric dust as a climatic archive and agent in the Pangaean supercontinent, climatic controls on chemical and physical weathering, and origins of loess and dust. I expect my students to work hard, and have a passion for the science and a willingness to do the work required to publish results in peer-reviewed journals. My goals are to train students to 1— think critically and broadly as a geoscientist and educator, 2— contribute to our knowledge of the planet,  and 3— graduate as a well- and broadly trained geoscientist interested in both Earth’s past and its future, and capable of employment in a variety of organizations (government, academia, industry).

Courses Taught

I regularly teach upper-division undergraduate and graduate-level courses in Earth’s Past Climate (co-taught with Dr. Shannon Dulin), Carbonates & Sequence Stratigraphy, and Depositional Systems & Stratigraphy. The latter two courses involve a substantial fieldtrip to world-class outcrops in the Sacramento and Guadalupe Mountains (pictured above) of New Mexico and West Texas. I also teach Introductory Geology, and seminars on various topics in sedimentary geology.